Ghana’s arts and crafts industry is one of the many attractions to tourists. The industry produces several of these all year round from Ghana and other neighbouring West African Countries, but the woes of the arts and craftsmen are linked to low patronage, especially by Ghanaians. In this piece yen.com.gh educates you on Ghana’s art and craft industry.
In recent past, patronage of crafts by locals has been very low. Foreigners on the other hand, are the ones seen patronizing most of these crafts, perhaps to use as souvenirs or decorations back home. It’s a joy to see them around Osu, Centre for National Culture etc. bargaining for good prices on them.
Some of these foreigners also get fascinated by the symbols engraved on the artefacts. For some though they feel cheated by the locals, who sell to them at exorbitant prices, but all the same, they still love to take a souvenir back home, perhaps to learn about the rich Ghanaian culture.
Ironically, many Ghanaians have described locally-made crafts as "fetish", outdated and prefer to own similar foreign crafted products, whose quality cannot be compared to the local products. Interestingly, some parents are less enthused about owning a piece in their homes for fear of being taken over by evil spirits, thereby endangering the lives of their loved ones.
So I set out to the Arts Centre, mainly to find out "why people have a negative notion about our own goods , but say "oh hail the Queen" to foreign products. Even in the areas of arts and crafts.
Bature Ahmed –Quaram, the chairman of the Arts and Crafts dealers Association at the centre for National Culture explained that most of the locally made artefacts, which he termed fetish were bought by foreigners. He also added that most foreigners purchase it to learn about the history of other countries. He admitted that the prices are high, hence the rising of the dollar.
One elderly woman, who spoke on anonymity disclosed that most of their arts are now purchased by the Chinese, Lebanese and philippinos, who mostly troop the centre in search of Ivory. This brought me to my next question ‘as to whether Ivory sale is ongoing in Ghana’.
What most people do not know is that the crafts have meanings to them. In my findings, I discovered that old currencies from different countries, including Ghana are also on sale at the Centre. So the next time, you want to learn more about Ghana’s economy, perhaps the Arts Centre might be the right place.